Are you starting to think about resolutions this year? Is one of them to get healthier, lose weight, look and feel better? I commend you if you are thinking about getting healthier this year. We all deserve to feel amazing! And I know you can accomplish any goal you set out to attain. But one of the things that drives me bonkers is watching amazing, beautiful women…. diet. It breaks my heart for them. Mostly because they seem incredibly unhappy through the whole process. But also, because I know the constant “on the diet” “off the diet” roller-coaster is doing major damage to their bodies, confidence, and mental well-being. I believe we should throw diets out the window! And start eating to be healthy, happy, and most of all, balanced. If you are considering a “diet” in 2019 read this before you decide.
Diets Can Do Damage: Most diets involve some sort of restriction. I physically cringe as I write this. My heart truly hurts for those that are restricting themselves too much. Or even just a little! Here’s what you might not realize. Restrictive diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Those deficiencies can lead to weak bones, a slowed digestive tract, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, brain fog, future kidney problems, hair loss, a fluctuation in sex hormones, and the list goes on. In fact, a recent study found that weight cycling (on and off dieting), poorly affected blood pressure and created arterial stiffness, a key indicator for cardio-vascular health. Long story short, dieting can do damage to your heart!
Diets suggest quick fix solutions: The mere word – diet – suggests short term. Most of us go on a diet and then once we’ve reached the desired goal, if we reach the desired goal, decide it’s done. But we’ve done nothing to eat healthier, teach ourselves long lasting habits, change our metabolism the right way, eat real food that can help us heal, or even learn how to cook the food we eat. When the diet phase is complete, we slip back into old habits, binge, or completely throw in the towel. Then a new diet begins. Plus, that diet, whether we fail, or succeed then regress, totally plays games with our psyche. Would you agree? This isn’t how long-lasting transformation takes place. True transformation takes time. I’m not taking days or weeks. I’m talking months and sometimes even years.
Diets Suck the Fun out of Being Healthy: I understand that for some of us with certain health conditions or food allergies we have no choice but to stick to certain foods. But for the rest of us we DO have a choice and we should appreciate it! I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pack my own food when I meet friends for lunch or go on vacation. I’d rather not be constantly counting calories or calculating points. I want to know how to order a good meal, make good choices, or even shop for and cook a good meal where ever I am! And I most certainly want to have the flexibility to enjoy a desert (or two) when the occasion (or quite frankly, my mood) calls for it! A healthy plan doesn’t make you feel deprived! A healthy plan allows you options and perfectly suits your unique lifestyle. Because honestly, there is NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL.
So, now that you’ve read why you shouldn’t diet, you might be thinking, “Well, gosh, Christina, what should I do? I’ve got to lose some weight. I’m exhausted all the time. I need to get my health in check. If I can’t go on a diet what else is there?”
Well, there’s a lot! And, quite frankly, it depends! You see, no one plan is the same. And some of it starts with mindset. So, one of the things I coach is really knowing why you want to achieve this new goal. And not just on the surface (i.e. I want to wear a size 8). Sometimes you must ask yourself why 5 times and dig deeper. Once you’ve discovered that deeper why, look at your lifestyle and choose one habit to focus on that will help you get to your goal. Once you’ve mastered that one habit, and I mean like 100%, move on to the next one. Slowly but surely, you’ll get where you need to be. However, you DO need to be patient with yourself.
“OK, but how do I know which habit to start with?” Now that’s a tricky question. And I personally couldn’t help you find your answer unless we talked it through together. But you might try writing down a list of things you’d like to change. Basics. Like, we eat out too much and we should eat at home more. Or, I’m always eating distracted or on the go, I should practice some mindful eating. Or, I don’t ever exercise I should start walking 3 times a week. Or I eat too many processed foods, I should try and implement some more whole food sources. I know some of these sound like no-brainers, but for a lot of us these are truly challenging habits to stick with consistently for long periods of time. And if you notice, not one of these has to do with restricting your plate…. I mean sure, eventually, depending on your goals, portion sizes will come into play, but that’s not restricting that’s learning to listen to hunger and fullness queues.
The truth is, some of us need a little extra help, or just someone to hold us accountable. And that’s where a nutrition coach like me comes in to help people navigate the waters. Especially when it can all seem so overwhelming. My goal is to help others create their balance, so they can live healthy, on their own terms, every day for the rest of their lives. It might take some upfront work, but the rewards are phenomenal.